Auto parts are something most people don’t think about until they are having to pay for them after something has gone wrong with their car.
Auto parts are a mere afterthought until suddenly there is the realization that it’s going to cost a Benjamin Franklin for a tiny ignition coil or even worse, hundreds of dollars if you rely on a repair shop to diagnose, purchase and install an auto part.
However, if you can find out the troublesome part, you can save a lot of money. There are a number of automotive parts dealers out there, including lots of online parts stores.
If you have been able to isolate the faulty part, here are some tips to finding the cheapest auto parts:
- Look online using the VIN of your car to determine what version of a part is needed for your car. Once you determine exactly what the part is and what it is called, you can often shop for OEM, or original equipment manufacturer, parts. OEM parts are replacement parts that are made by the manufacturer of the original parts, rather than a third party.
- If there are any online forums related to your car or manufacturer, make sure to glance through and see if other owners may have had the same problem. Find out what brand auto parts they used and where they located the parts.
- Call the car dealership parts department and see how much the needed auto parts will cost (and if need be, how much installation will cost). If you bought your car from the dealer, hopefully you have a warranty that will cover the uncooperative auto part that isn’t working. Check through your paperwork.
- Even if the parts department has the part in stock, which often times they won’t, continue making phone calls. Call your local automotive parts store. Stores such as NAPA, Pep Boys and AutoZone all give you an easy alternative. If they have the right auto part in stock, they are right around the corner (no matter what corner you live on) and you will be able to pick it up that day.
- Look at online retailers. Because they exist only on computers, online retailers don’t have the same financial burden of renting a store, stocking it and paying people to run it. This means they may be able to offer the part for cheaper, so look at a couple of different online stores and see if you can find a deal. If you find the part you are looking for, make sure to search for how long it typically takes them to ship an item out. You don’t want to be driving around a car with faulty parts any longer than necessary.
- If there are salvage yards or any junkyards locally, be sure to give them a call. This is often the toughest way to find an auto part, but you never know when you might luck out and catch a bargain. It’s at least worth taking three minutes to give them a telephone ring.
- Check the local and online classifieds. Like the junkyards, it can often be a crap shoot because the content is constantly changing. However, people are trying to get rid of parts in a hurry. That means you are more likely to find a great deal. Just make sure that you check the condition of the parts before you purchase them.